May 25, 2006
HOUSTON, Texas - Junior right-hander Brandon Gomes struck out four in six solid innings and the Green Wave offense tied a season-high with 20 hits as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Marshall, 12-1, in an eight-inning elimination game of the 2006 Conference USA Tournament Thursday morning at Rice's Reckling Park.
One day after dropping a 4-2 contest to sixth-seeded East Carolina, all nine position starters posted at least one hit and the Green Wave scored in every inning except the first. With the win, Tulane improves to 40-18 on the year and advances to play the loser of Thursday's East Carolina/Houston contest on Friday at 3 p.m. The Green Wave claimed their fourth consecutive 40-win season, 10th in 13 seasons under head coach Rick Jones and 15th in the history of the program.
"We played a complete game today," Jones said. "Our defense was outstanding. We made all the routines and made a couple of plays that weren't routine look that way. We had great pitching by Brandon Gomes, and Jonathan Garrett did a nice job in relief for us.
"Our hitting today really was what we needed to have. We need to have that kind of stretch-the-lead kind of game if we could, so that we didn't have to use so much of our bullpen."
Senior left fielder Matt Riser led the offensive attack, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored, while junior first baseman Mark Hamilton and senior centerfielder Nathan Southard had three hits and three RBI each. Hamilton posted his 18th homer of the year with a solo shot in the fourth while Southard mixed a triple among his three knocks, and stole his 27th base of the season.
"I was concerned with 32 in the first, no question about it," Jones said. "You don't know this guy, and I do. I've had him for four years now and he's going to fight you to the last. He's going to fight you and you better beat him because he ain't giving in."
While Gomes was in control, the bats came alive in the second as sophomore second baseman Brad Emaus, junior designated hitter Tim Guidry and rookie third baseman Seth Henry hit consecutive one-out singles, and junior catcher Ty Wallace lifted a sacrifice fly to left to give the Green Wave a 1-0 lead they would not relinquish.
Hamilton sparked a two-out rally in the third, winning a 10-pitch battle over Marshall starter Jeremy Slone with a single up the middle, before Southard ripped a triple to the wall in dead center to double the lead. Guidry hit a leadoff homer in the fourth and Hamilton clubbed an opposite-field bomb in the fifth.
Marshall scratched across around in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Aaron Levinson singled, advanced two bases on a wild pitch and a groundout, and scored on a one-out single off the bat of third baseman Adam Frederick, but Tulane outscored the Thundering Herd 8-0 the rest of the way as the game was halted via the C-USA Tourney 10-run-rule.
Riser and sophomore shortstop Cat Everett hit back-to-back singles to open the sixth, and McFadden followed with an RBI-double to left. An intentional walk to Hamilton loaded the bases, and Southard and Emaus followed with an RBI-single and a sacrifice fly, respectively to push the lead to 7-1.
The Green Wave loaded the bases to start the seventh as Wallace and Riser singled and Everett was hit by a pitch. McFadden earned the easy RBI with a walk and Hamilton drove in a pair with a single up the middle to cap Tulane's second straight three-run frame.
Henry singled with one out in the eighth, and following Riser getting plunked with two away, Everett and McFadden hit back-to-back RBI-singles to account for the final score.
Garrett, a redshirt-freshman right-hander from Mandeville, La., came on in relief of Gomes to start the seventh, and after giving up a one-out single to Frederick, got a double-play ball to end the inning before retiring the side in order in the eighth to clinch the Tulane victory.
"It's so hard to get out of a day like yesterday and look for a positive because you didn't have anything go your way," Jones said. "You feel like if you had a ball with eyes, you win the ballgame. But the bottom line was we played well yesterday and we played hard. That carried over to today.
"I've watched this club have their back to the wall so many times and respond in a positive way that I didn't have any doubt in my mind - I didn't know whether we'd win or not - but I didn't have any doubt that we would come out and play well."
Slone (3-8) was tagged with the loss after allowing seven runs on 13 hits and two walks while striking out a pair in a 5.1-inning start. The Thundering Herd conclude their season 22-32, including a seventh-place C-USA finish via a 6-18 league mark.